World Rugby have today revealed details of how Ireland can qualify for the Women’s Rugby World Cup which is due to take place in New Zealand in 2021.
Ireland’s disappointing showing at the 2017 World Cup, which was hosted on Irish soil, saw them finish outside of the top seven teams and as a consequence, missed out on automatic qualification for the showpiece event in 2021.
Ireland must now enter a ‘qualification pathway tournament’ which will see them play Italy, Scotland and the winner of the 2020 Rugby Europe Women’s Championship. If Ireland win this four-team tournament, they will secure qualification for the 2021 World Cup. This competition will take place in September 2020.
There is also another pathway into the World Cup if Adam Griggs’ side fail to win this tournament. If they finish second, they will be entered into a Repechage competition which will see the second placed teams in the Asia, Europe and Oceania regional tournaments and the winner of the play-off between South America and second-placed team from the Africa regional qualifier – the winner of this will secure the last spot for the World Cup.
This is the first time that Ireland have to qualify for a World Cup in this manner, ultimately resulting from losing their seventh-placed playoff to Wales at the 2017 World Cup.
Griggs’ side have yet to hit the high standards of previous years and their 2019 Six Nations showing, where they finished 5th and recorded just one win, means that there is plenty to work on as Ireland bid to qualify for the World Cup in 2021.